Rodríguez - López Laboratory


Introducing active learning in the classroom and becoming involved with our students, especially with undergraduate students through the American Chemical Society Student Members, are two of our favorite activities. We also extend the reach of our laboratory to an international dimension by exploring new research and educational avenues in collaboration with the group of Paramaconi Rodriguez at the University of Birmingham in the UK through the Transatlantic Collaboration fund and the BRIDGE partnership between BU and UIUC. Find in this webpage some resources that we are happy to share, including some notes and excercises used in courses taught at UIUC, and on our Electrochemical Bootcamp.

Electrochemistry Bootcamp

Bootcamp v 4.0 is coming soon in Fall 2015!

The electrochemistry bootcamp is free and open to any interested graduate or undergraduate student

Some examples of activities:

An Introduction to Electrocatalysis
Bulk Electrolysis for Energy Storage
Electrochemical Simulation
Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy: Mediators
Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy: Catalysis
Liquid/Liquid Interfaces

Graduate students Cody (Jain group), Kevin (Moore group), Elena (JRL group), and Post-doc Xuan (JRL group) learn electrocatalysis

Undergraduate students Zach (JRL group) and Hyun (Shen group) learn bulk electrolysis

JRL invited teaching lectures

Joaquin has had the opportunity of participating in the following teaching presentations

1. "Electrochemical Nano-Reactors." Presented during the Science Café series organized by the American Chemical Society Student Members at UIUC, February 1st, 2015.
2. "Electrochemical storage in organic and sulfur cathodes." Presented during the Science Café series organized by the American Chemical Society Student Members at UIUC, February 23rd, 2014.
3. "Li-ion Batteries." ChBE594 Electrochemical systems and energy technology, invited by Prof. Hong Yang, September 24th, 2013.
4. "Imaging Chemical Reactivity at Catalytic Surfaces Using Tiny Electrodes." American Chemical Society Student Members general body meeting, March 28th, 2013.
5. "A versatile tool for the interrogation of electrode surfaces." Chem 199 L iScience, invited by Prof. Yi Lu, January 30th, 2013.
6. "Finding an academic job" discussion panel for Chem 590F Preparing Future Faculty, invited by Prof. Steven C. Zimmermann, February 4th, 2013.

Joaquin has had the opportunity of participating in the following organized outreach activities

1. "Lessons Learned in First Years" Q&A panel. Illinois New Faculty Orientation, I Hotel Conference Center, August 20th, 2013.
2. "An Electrochemical Firefly." and "The Scientific Method" Conference and learning activity presented during the Illinois New Teacher Collaborative discussing demonstrations and activities for K through 12 grade children, I-Hotel, July 30-31, 2013. [Archive]
3. "Meet the professor" Q&A series organized by the Women in Chemistry chapter at UIUC, January 16th, 2013.
4. International Student and Scholar Services Professor Lunch Q&A panel about experiences of an international faculty member in the USA, Saturday October 27th, 2012.
5. Pre-UIUC activities included volunteering for the "Workshops for Science Teachers at the K-12 level" organized by the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) and the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras (May 2011) and the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez (October 2011 and April 2012 by videoconference). Activities included a talk about the scientific method and instruction on how to implement kit demonstrations in chemistry.

Outreach with the ACS Student Members

In the past two years, we have actively collaborated with the undergraduate ACS chapter by introducing scientific outreach activities. These are developed and refined in collaboration with our lab to eventually become part of the chapter's outreach portfolio. Examples of this include the "Chemistry Club program" where the chapter has reached out to local high schools, as well as the use of scientific demonstrations for activities such as Quad Day and the National Chemistry Week. If you belong to an undergraduate or high school program and are interested in collaborating with the ACS Chapter through us, do not hesitate to contact JRL!

We developed and tested demonstrations in the JRL lab. Students at the ACSSM with support from our laboratory then take these activities to outside presentations. Shown are our kickoff meetings at Urbana High School with the Chemistry Group nucleated by Liz Ohr, as well as ACSSM outreach meetings discussing the content of the activities.
ACSSM outreach chair Roman Ambriz demonstrates the conductivity of different types of carbon. The final activity included the use of single layer graphene made in the JRL laboratory
Burt Simpson from the JRL group briefly explains water splitting reactions and demonstrates a photoelectrochemical cell using strontium titanate electrodes during an ACSSM meeting
National Chemistry Week demonstrations included a demonstration of graphene conductivity, fuel cell electrocatalysis, and electrochemical light emission. The efforts of the ACSSM chapter have been rewarded with a recent honorable mention and a green chemistry certification.

International Collaboration for Research - The BRIDGE partnership and the Transatlantic Collaboration Fund

Introduction to our activities

Our currently funded project:
"Leading Cutting-Edge Research in Energy Materials through Innovation, Cooperation and Diversity"will enable us to explore novel metal oxide nanomaterials for energy conversion and storage. It will also allow undergraduate engagement and enable international synergy.

What is Electrocatalysis?
Cathodic Corrosion- A novel method for preparing advanced nano-materials

Chem 222 Quantitative Chemical Analysis

This course introduces students into the practice of quantitative chemical analysis from the perspective of "wet chemistry." Chem 222 prepares students for achieving or advancing towards the following objectives:
·Becoming a chemistry professional by identifying figures of merit based on statistical analysis and learning the appropriate chemical language;
·Understanding the chemical aspects of statistical error;
·Acquiring an in-depth knowledge of the algebra of chemical reactions;
·Applying this knowledge to solve general problems in acid/base chemistry, solubility, activity, complexometry, separations and redox chemistry;
·Realizing the value of transducing chemical processes into electrical or photonic quantities and vice-versa;

This class will give you general skills applicable for all fields of chemistry: preparing a buffer for cell cultures, keeping inorganic reactions under constant ionic strength, choosing the right components for neutralizing the by-product of an organic reaction, understanding a protocol for quality control in a processing plant, making electrodes for studying the electric impulses in the brain, detecting pollutants in ground water, among other applications.

Active learning component:This class also helps students develop team-work and leadership skills by frequently interacting with their classmates through i-clicker activities, which are also used to register attendance. Find below some activites I have used in class to nucleate small group discussion.

Some examples of activities:

Fall 2014 Chem 222 Syllabus
Some Useful i-clicker questions to trigger discussion
Small group activity on statistics and reporting
Concept mapping of equilibrium relationships
Activity on Amperometry at Microelectrodes
Integrative activity on electrolytes

Chem 588 Physical Methods for Materials Chemistry

This course surveys the fundamental principles, instrumental characteristics, and typical and current applications of materials characterization methods with a focus on chemical systems. We address three major aspects of materials: Composition, Structure and Reactivity. Chem 588 prepares students for advancing towards the following long-term objectives:
·Having a sufficiently broad understanding of materials characterization tools to be able to choose the proper one for a given application and to understand the scope, areas of opportunity and limitations of such tools;
·Developing a critical knowledge of current literature and applications;
·Becoming acquainted with useful resources and practical methods for the surveyed techniques;
·Solving complex problems and large tasks through teamwork;
·Taking charge of your own growth as a materials scientist. This is not a passive course, students are expected to interact and share knowledge.

Active learning component . Graduate students will typically face complex challenges for which they need to develop a wide set of skills in communication, leadership, critical thinking and assessment of their own learning progress. Through Problem Based Learning activities, graduate students have the opportunity of solving broad scientific challenges in a collaborative environment. By solving a multifaceted problem, students direct their own learning according to their interests and assess the best course of action to solve complex tasks. You will find below activities for 2014 and 2015, which involved reports, presentations, manuscripts and other suitable products, some of which are executed during class sessions. An important part of PBL consisted of self-assessment. In addition to my assessment, students grade their own performance. Exams were planned to be take-home and open book, allowing students to practice more quantitative analyses of the class contents.

Some examples of activities:

2015 Chem 588 Syllabus
PBL1 2014 - Better Batteries
PBL1 2015 - Analysis out of this world!
PBL2 2014 - A compendium of artifacts
PBL2 2015 - An invited lectureship
PBL3 2015 - In Operando Analysis

Useful links for the Rodriguez-Lopez Lab

Division of Research Safety (DRS)
SCS Reaction (ordering)
Sigma-Aldrich MSDS Search